After years of injuries and deaths, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission voted unanimously Thursday to ban the manufacture, sale and resale of all drop-side cribs, while simultaneously requiring all users to replace their defective cribs by the end of next year.
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The move follows some 32 infant deaths and thousands of injuries, and more than nine million recalled cribs, all stemming from a partially detached side rail that creates a gap between the mattress and rail. The small space poses a potential threat for babies and toddlers to get stuck, suffocate, or fall out of the crib.
The mandate bans the sale of all drop-side cribs by June, while requiring public accommodations, such as childcare facilities and hotels, to come into full compliance within 12 months.
“Today is a momentous day for the CPSC as we now vote on this rule,” the commission’s chairwoman Inez M. Tenenbaum said during the meeting. “The nature of this rulemaking is unprecedented at the CPSC.”
The CPSC, which has also set more stringent standards for all non-banned full size and non-full- size cribs, said the significant expanse of replacing such a large number of cribs in such a short time will “weigh heavily” on public facilities, according to the CPSC, especially when many are small businesses and may not have the recourses to replace their cribs all at one time.
The committee estimated that child care facilities and public accommodations need to replace as many as 935,000 cribs at a cost of $500 a crib, or approximately $467 million in total. There are an estimated 59,000 childcare services and childcare homes and some 53,000 places of public accommodation required to comply with the new law.
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It also may be difficult, the committee noted, for enough complying cribs to be manufactured in just one year, particularly as they struggle to keep up with the heightened demand.
Despite the trickling supply, the CPSC strongly encouraged all childcare facilities, family childcare houses and places of public accommodation to begin replacing their cribs with compliant cribs “as quickly as the market allows.”
“Starting with the oldest ones first, as our experience has shown that the longer cribs are used the more hazards they present to the children placed in them,” Tenenbaum said.
“Six months after this rule is placed in the federal register all cribs sold in the United States must be compliant with the new rule,” she said, “and that is a short turnaround.”